Got a lot of blackberries? Then check out this recipe for Blackberry Mojito Fruit Leather.

I'm not a huge fan of fruit leathers, but this turned out super good! And, really, you can't go wrong with blackberries, mint and rum.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Growing fruit in an urban lot

I'm getting close to maxing out how many fruiting plants and trees I want to have in our urban yard. Usually I focus a tremendous amount of energy on annual vegetable plants, with a side-obsession on herbs and routinely forget how many fruit trees and the like I have already put in.

Want to know what we have growing? It's more than I thought:
  • Peter's honey fig tree (just planted last summer)
  • Strawberries (2 plants in our rain barrel lid)
  • Blueberries (2 bushes)
  • Thornless blackberries (2 bushes)
  • Columnar apples (2 trees)
  • Grapes (3 plants)
  • Arbequina olive tree
  • Dwarf cherry tree (5 different kinds grafted onto one rootstock)
  • Elderberry
  • Cavendish banana (indoors)

We have height restriction covenants in our neighborhood so I can't grow anything too huge. I am planning on planting some privacy screening trees on the back end of our lot (on the other side of our fence in a huge 30 foot raised bed set back from a somewhat busy street) and am interested in putting in a Pindo palm, which produces edible fruit.

There are a couple species of palms that do really well in Seattle (we are Zone 8). We have two windmill palms already. I'd also love to sneak in a few winter hardy Basjoo banana plants for the same reason. I can cut them down each winter if they get too unruly and they'll grow back to full size each year. They produce fruit, but it's not really edible. There are also prickly pear cacti that produce fruits that grow well (and huge!) up here, but I'm not sure I want to add that to my tropical oasis.

What kind of fruit trees/plants/vines do you have growing? What aren't you growing that you desperately wish you were?

34 comments:

Jazkabor said...

I have a pear, I just cut down the ugliest apple and will plant a pink lady next spring to replace it. I am hoping to save my cherry, I cut a nasty one down a couple months ago. I have 5 blueberry bushes I bought this year, 10 raspberry stalks I got from a neighbor this last summer. I am trying to save my peach tree, which is sick (when it isn't it gives softball size heavenly fruits!) I would like to have a fig, and brooks plum. I love your grafted cherry, my mom has a couple like that for apples. And many strawberries I purchased last year, but haven't tasted any (slugs) this year I hope our chickens don't eat them all. This is our first year with chickens and ducks too.

Marya said...

We have apricots, walnuts, and hazelnuts. Vegetable wise, I think we're doing green beans, peppers, peas, pole beans, carrots, and a leaf lettuce this year.

meg said...

We have an apricot, 2 plums, 1 columnar apple, 1 honeycrisp apple, 3 blueberries, beds of strawberries, 3 serviceberries and 1 fig. We also have a 5-way asian pear, a 4-way apple and a 5-way cherry---but they seem to hate where I put them and might be given up. Oh and some non-producing kiwi that I hacked at and planted in a really stupid place. =)

Anonymous said...

Oh and an espaliered pear (2 kinds)!

Kate said...

Let's see...We have four elderberries, volunteer wineberries, a handful of red raspberries, a few volunteer black raspberries, three figs in large containers, two hazelnuts temporarily in large containers, two young pear trees, two young cherry trees, seven blueberries, one old apple tree, four grape vines, and a lemon and lime indoors. Most of these are either not yet productive, or produced a tiny bit in 2010. I plan to put in another apple and some rhubarb this year, as well as begin work on a hedgerow stocked so far as possible with edibles.

There are lots of fruits I wish I could grow, mangoes and olives probably chief among them. I find it strange that no one grows olives here in zone 6. I've seen famously productive olive groves in Italy covered in snow, so I know olives can take a decent chill. Maybe it's just that no one has tried?

shortystylee said...

No fruit for me here (stupid apartment), but we had pers and peaches growing up. I never thought of growing grapes though, that's really a good idea!

Jessica

Kristen said...

I also live in an apartment with no real outside space (although I may commandeer my neighbors!) so I haven't ventured into fruit quite yet...

The one thing I desperately want is a pomegranate, though. I found out that the dwarf variety can live mostly inside, so I may just have to rearrange my entire living room for it..

louisa @ TheReallyGoodLife said...

This year is the year of fruit for us - last year, we only foraged for fruit and discovered that a tree on the scrap land next to our house was a plum tree (win!), but this year we're planting/have planted.... *takes deep breathe* five apple trees, two pear trees, a cherry tree, gooseberries, jostaberries, honeyberries, lingonberries, blackcurrants, strawberries, alpine strawberries and if I can get hold of some canes, raspberries. Not all will fruit this year but next year we should have quite a spread!

We live in a UK city so don't have that much garden space so the trees are all dwarfs and the berries will largely be in moveable containers so we can have them on the patio areas as well as the very limited bed space. We're also going to make the most of our concreted front yard with tubs etc. I'm going to be busy this year, that's for sure!

Kristi said...

We have four semi-dwarf apples, two pear, and two cherry trees, and 25 strawberry plants. I may take out one of the apples, because 250 pounds of apples is more than I want to deal with. I would love to grow peaches, plums, apricots, red and black currants, walnuts and pine nuts. There are u-pick places nearby for rasp, black and blueberries, so I don't bother with those.

Michelle said...

I have planted several varieties of raspberries, a strawberry bed of two varieties (but which hasn't been weeded or attended to in, um, several years, two varieties of apple (7 trees), three peach trees, and 10 blueberry bushes of three varieties. There are some more apple trees out in "the rough" but I have no idea what kind. They got a really good renewal pruning year before last, so perhaps they'll bear this year.

adventuresindinner said...

I've been on a bit of a mission the past couple of years so now we have quite a bit of fruit on top of the herbs and annual veg. They include; raspberries and blackberries, elderberry, crabapple, three apple trees, two pear, grapes, gooseberries, rhubarb and currants.

It feels pretty good thinking about them given how cold we are right now.

Maria said...

We have one apple tree, two asian pear trees, 3 blueberry bushes (and I plan on getting 2 more this year), raspberries, and blackberries. I've been trying to grow strawberries in one of those clay strawberry pots but never had much luck so I got rid of those last year. I have a new deck this year where I am hoping to have an herb garden too.

Natalie said...

I am super giddy about the ten new grafts we just added to the eight fruit trees we planted in our front yard last year. More plums, more nectarines. We have apple, fig, plum, nectarine, peach, and citrus, oh, and guava.
I love replacing shrubs with food producers!

Angela said...

We have a tiny little urban lot and live in Minnesota, so we're a bit limited in what we can do, but so far we have red currants, black currants, honeyberries, gooseberries, a Canadian Chokecherry tree, strawberries, serviceberries, blackberries, a few varieties of raspberry, occasionally melons, and a Mount Royal plum (we're in luck that our city has a program each year that sells inexpensive trees, and each year so far there's been a fruit tree to chose from!). Our two big wish-list items are lingonberries (SO expensive to buy the plants around here, so we haven't managed it yet) and a Northstar Cherry or two. Also high on my list: elderberries, seaberries, grapes, and hardy kiwi. The one I won't be able to grow here in any kind of quantity but that I wish I could: lemons. I can use sumac for a lot of things I'd use lemon for, but sometimes you just want that citrus flavor. :)

Hazel said...

We have an apricot and a peach, both fan trained against a fence or the house wall and which both fruited for the first time last summer; a young espaliered Morello cherry; a new Kiwi plant, 5 blueberries, 3 Black Velvet plants (a gooseberry/Worcesterberry cross), a couple of autumn fruiting Raspberry canes and some alpine strawberries in the garden.
A strawberry bed; red, white and black currants; gooseberries and a mixture of summer raspberries and tayberries at the allotment. Oh, and half a dozen rhubarb plants.

Plans are afoot for 2 heritage apple trees along a path (like stepovers but 2 branches high) and a couple of plum or gage trees grown the same way. And a grape vine.
Elderberries grow like weeds in the hedgerows around here (and I seem to be the only person who picks them) so there's no point planting any deliberately.

Our garden isn't huge and almost half is taken up by ducks and chickens, but the list sounds quite impressive when it's written down!

Tanya said...

We just moved in our place in the gulf islands, bc in July. There are already tons of blackberries (we probably picked 18 gallons or so of them) but def not thornless. OUCH. Everbearing strawberries, raspberries, a couple apple trees (not a good year for them so didn't get any apples), crabapple, pear (only 2 pears on it), plum (birds got to them first), hazelnut (only got about a dozen nuts), cherry (we arrived too late hope this year will get lots). Would like: peach, olive (think they will only grow further south though), lemon (might try meyer), kiwi, blueberries (I think there's one bush here but it didn't really produce)

emmer said...

we have a townhouse with a south-facing tiny (23x14)yard. part of that is a brick patio, the rest of it is stepped raised beds. we have an ultra-dwarf gravenstein apple, a dwarf morello pie cherry and a semi-dwarf redhaven peach. that little darlin' has been in the ground just 2 years and produced 21 medium size excellent peaches.
we have 2 grapevines, 2 artic beauty kiwi, 25 asperagus, a rhubarb, 2 hazelnut bushes, and a real tea bush. lots of strawberries, lowbush blueberries and cranberries as groundcover around the fruit trees. the largest raised bed is for summer vegetables. the front porch has a dwarf korean nut pine. in perhaps 5more years we'll be getting a few pinenuts. the second floor deck has many kinds of herbs as well as greens and lettuces. sugar snap climbing peas shade a window. the deck has a cherry tomato and 2 pepper plants in summer. these become houseplants in winter. there a flowers tucked in here and there for color, scent and to attract pollinators. chickens by and by.

Desert Lean-to said...

Our entire lot is .07 acres and we're trying to make the best of it to create a mini food forest. So far we've planted semi-dwarf: apple, peach, plum and apricot. I would like to have a fig, currants, grapes, prickly pear, raspberries and strawberries.

Last year I was able to forage copious amounts of plums, pears and prickly pears to put up many pints of jam, butters,etc. In our part of Albuquerque there are plenty of fruit trees that go unharvested. I should really take better advantage of that.

susan in coral gables said...

In South Florida - Zone 12 - 2 or three mango (one volunteered) 1 lychee (not yet fruiting) 1 key lime, 1 moringa tree (see http://www.echonet.org/content/agriculturalResources/611) for moringa - tree of life info) heirloom tomatoes, okra, herbs, lettuces (not heirloom), cranberry hibiscus, soon to be planted meyer lemon (lost 2 heirloom grapefruit in the so called citrus canker wars in florida 10 years ago), sigh.

TracyKM said...

I find it interesting that you have height restrictions on plants. Like, how high? Don't people like trees there? What about shade? What about trees that grow really tall, but slowly...does someone go out and measure them every year?
I've never come across a neighbourhood with the type of restrictions like I hear about in the States (I'm in Ontario). I can't imagine someone telling me I can't grow tall trees or hang up clothes to dry outside (although the town bylaw says I can't have chickens).

*jean* said...

i've had a strawberry patch in my urban yard...5 years of luciousness...i met an old farmer in overalls at the market where i bought the plants...he told me to buy more than one kind so i did...i had bowls full of berries every year...but then i had a little person so i dug it under...now that little person is older and this spring we will plant strawberries...we are also turning the old sandbox into a berry planter for blueberries and raspberries...i have a fabulous volunteer apple that is very healthy and 3 grape vines..i wonder if i can get a fig to grow in MN...hmmm homework

Crunchy Chicken said...

Tracy - the restrictions (nothing taller than the roof line) has to do with blocking views. In our immediate street we don't have too much, but many if not most in the neighborhood have serious views which shouldn't be blocked because a neighbor decides to plant a huge tree.

Dmarie said...

just last year we added a peach, two apples and a pear, plus two blueberry bushes and a raspberry. they join an established prolific pear tree, an aging apple tree & two pecans that are only now producing, plus a grape vine planted the year before. wish I'd heard about the concept of permaculture years ago!

dc said...

Hmm, let's see. We have several fruit trees: 2apple, 4-5 plum, 2 sour cherry, 1 pear, 1 peach, hazelnuts,1 lemon and 1 fig. The fig and lemon trees are indoors for the winter.

We have numerous red currants, a few white currants, red, black and golden raspberries, thornless blackberries, nanking cherries, elderberries, 4-5 varieties of strawberries, wild strawberries, rhubarb, and grapes.

Wish we could grow blueberries and beech nut trees but our soil is very alkaline so I'll just be happy with what we can grow! I am going to plant an apricot this year even though we'd probably only get fruit every 7 years or so.

Hazel said...

dc- my blueberries are in tubs of ordinary compost, mulched with pine needles and I water them with coffee grounds; it seems to be acidic enough for them. (All ericaceous compost in the UK seems to have peat in it, which I didn't want to use).

Cold House said...

"We have height restriction covenants in our neighborhood so I can't grow anything too huge."

I too find this peculiar and amusing. What happens if your tree DOES grow too tall? Can you just keep lopping off the top, or does the whole thing have to come down? Or maybe there are tree anti-growth hormones you can feed it?

On the other hand, looking out the window at the neighbor's enormous, leaning fir that may someday fall on my house, I can see the appeal...

dc said...

@Hazel Thanks for the information, I'll give it a try! I get coffee grounds from 2 local cafes that bag them up for gardeners.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Cold House - They chop them off at the top. It looks really ugly. You have to get permission to plant any trees, so generally that's avoided.

Sharon said...

South Florida here. Carambola (star fruit) sour orange, papaya, and figs. Immediate neighbors have mango, avocado and bananas. Would love to get some passion fruit going, but have had no luck starting it from seed and my soil is so rocky that I don't think I can put plants in myself. Any ideas?

emmer said...

to tracykm and crunchy: where i used to live in north calif., the height restrictions had to do with not blocking a neighbor's sun. a tree or structure that reduced sun fall could restrict gardening, stop solar panels from functioning properly and reduce the owners enjoyment of her property.

iheartgardening said...

we have huckleberry, elderberry, strawberry, raspberry, golden raspberry, blueberry, lingonberry, italian plum. i'd really like to put some dwarf apple, peach and pomegranate trees on my front cliff (i mean slope) and I would also like to have a dwarf fig tree. I have to do dwarf on everything because I don't want monster trees in my front cliff (i mean slope). I think it'd be funny if someone walking by got knocked by a falling peach down the slope. just kidding. nichole from seattle

Anonymous said...

i'd love to know how to get an ordinance. ha ha we had a nice puget sound water view when we bought the house and the neighbor's trees grew 10 feet and completely blocked our view (although theirs is strategically saved through careful pruning on their side) and we no longer have a nice view and our value is in the trash now from that. i'd love an ordinance :)

oneearthtolive said...

Columnar apples! This could be the ticket for me because I have so little space. I have only raspberries and nanking cherry, which I orginally bought for the flowers before I was all eco, and now may enjoy for jams and wine!!

Lindsay said...

In the front yard (a.k.a. The Orchard): 4 apples, 3 avocados, 3 peaches, 2 nectarines, 2 apricots, 2 cherries, 2 plums, 2 figs, 2 pluots (in an experimental 2-in-1 hole planting), an asian pear, loquat, persimmon, pomegranate, and almond. Still need: a quince.
In the back yard: a lime, 2 tangerines, blood orange, meyer lemon, navel orange, tangelo, and grapefruit. Still need: a regular lemon and maybe a valencia orange.
In pots: tangerine, kumquat, kaffir lime, and bay.
Except for the navel orange and lime tree which were in when we bought our home in July 2009 we put everything else in about 8 months ago.

The next big fruit endeavors shall be focused on finding places for berries: raspberries, boysenberries, strawberries, blueberries, grapes, elderberries.

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